RAISING THE VOICE AGAINST HYDROCARBON IN TAMIL NADU
RAISING THE VOICE AGAINST HYDROCARBON IN TAMIL NADU
water contamination :
Earth is no closed box. It is connected not just in macro scale but in atomic scale. The main risk associated with this extraction process is the potential contamination of drinking water with chemicals used in the fracking process. If the volume of water is 5 lakh litres, the volume of additives could be more than 40,000 litres. These chemicals are high likely to cause respiratory, gastrointestinal, dermatological, and ocular effects; 40% to 50% could be neuro-, immuno- and nephrotoxic; 37% could be endocrine disruptors, and 25% could be carcinogenic. The United states Environmental protection Agency have found high concentrations of benzene, xylenes, and other hydrocarbons in the shale gas extraction sites in British Columbia, Canada. Believe it or not, the authorities in British Columbia have even documented methane contaminated drinking water which could lead to adverse effects on safety. Other possible effects are fresh water depletion, air quality deterioration and greenhouse gas emissions. Added to this, the noxious flares and fume gas can cause immediate health threat to the locals and the labours working around.
Water scarcity :
It is a mere joke if the projects try to convince that the water pumped inside can be recycled at one point by involving waste water treatment. More than 90% of water never returns to the surface. In other words, the water is just removed from the natural cycle and this will automatically lead to drought. In particular, Tamilnadu relies on monsoon rains. If the rainfall fails, the drought-led deaths are already visible. Why should this extraction process add on to the sorrow more?
Not all waste can be recycled or treated. There are certain wastes which when cant be treated, are dumped somewhere. In particular, if the radioactive wastes are present in a level higher than it can be treated, then it is dangerous to the environment. The best way to dump is to mix it in a river right? Because, a flowing water never exposes our human cruelty and safely stores the waste in her water bed. This radioactive wastes can go to any extent to affect humans, cattle and any living thing when got into contact. Added to this, the radio active wastes and the chemicals used for fracturing are not completely recovered from the well and they are often left in the ground. Those left in the ground are not even bio degradable, just like plastics.
The waste fluid left/stored in the atmosphere, no matter how much you close it or isolate from the atmosphere. It tends to evaporate which releases dangerous volatile organic compound into the atmosphere creating contaminated air which leads to acid rain, ground level ozone and so on. These contaminants include diesel particulate matter, hydrogen sulphide and other volatile hydrocarbons which lead to health problems like asthma, headaches, high blood pressure, anemia, heart attacks and cancer. It can also have a damaging effect on immune and reproductive systems, as well as fetal and child development. It is found that mothers who live near fracking sites are 30 percent more likely to have babies with congenital heart defects.
Not just water, but the process of hydraulic fracking involves the pumping of sand too. Now you could see why they choose places like pudukkotai, cauvery basin for this project. The sand at these river beds meets their requirements to be used for hydraulic fracking. Such sand is called a frac sand. This sand, taken from the ground is processed after mining. There it is washed to remove the fine particles.
Possible earth quakes:
This could be a threat in long term, not many proofs though. The process of fracturing to permeate the sedimentary rocks could lead to the brittle failure of the rock and lead to micro seismic events. Micro seismicity is the minor earth quake under a magnitude of 2.0 and it is small to be felt.
However, there are examples of earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 2.0 which speculated the geologists and scientists to study. The documents have conclusively linked the major earth quakes to the hydraulic fracturing for shale gas exploration/recovery. In the Etsho and Tattoo fields in Horn River, Canada, 216 earthquakes were detected during between 2009 and 2011 (BC Oil and Gas Commission, 2012). Twenty-one of these earthquakes had magnitudes of 3.0 or greater, and the largest event had a magnitude of 3.8 ML. In the Eola Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma, 86 earthquakes were detected during hydraulic fracturing in 2011 with magnitudes up to 2.9 ML (Holland, 2013). In July and August 2014, earthquakes with magnitudes of 4.0 and 4.2 occurred near Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada. Both earthquakes are considered to have been induced by hydraulic fracturing activities in the region (Atkinson et al, 2015). The figure below shows the increase in the magnitude of earth quake at a stage where the pressure is more, relatively.
Any technology found, is purely dedicated to the betterness of mankind. It is true that oil and gas is not an essential to serve comfort but is a livelihood thing. Oil and gas extraction, hydraulic fracking in particular, is for the energy needs. But the yard scale to measure the demands with respect to the risk factors should be highly introspective. A vast country like canada, can easily evacuate her people from the site of hydraulic fracking, not to mention the health effects of workers involved. But, a dense country like India cant afford to inject a generation with diseases and malnutrition. It is high time our country thinks about alternative energy sources like solar.
As per records available with Express, Vedanta has sought an exemption from holding public hearings. The hearings, where general public are allowed to express their views on such projects, is a statutory requirement under EIA Notification, 2006. The company is planning to invest a whopping Rs 13,538 crore in the project.Last year, Vedanta was allotted two hydrocarbon blocks in Tamil Nadu as part of Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP). One block covers an area of 2,574 sq.km consisting of 142 sq.km of Nagapattinam (Tamil Nadu), 39 sq.km of Karaikal (Puducherry) and 2,393 sq. km of the Bay of Bengal sea.
The second block measures 1,794 Sq.km consisting of 139 sq km of Villupuram, two sq.km of Puducherry and 1,654 sq.km of sea portion of Bay of Bengal. The total command area to carry out necessary studies will be 4.37 lakh hectares.Ecologists have expressed concerns over environmental impacts of such a project. The Vendanta’s block where drilling will happen, according to records, is just 0.49 km away from the ecologically sensitive Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. Also, four important rivers including the Cauvery and several canals flow within the block.
The Bay of Bengal, where blocks are located, is prone to cyclones. “The coastal stretch between Marakkanam and Nagapattinam, where the two offshore blocks of Vedanta are situated, is a popular fishing ground for local communities as it has shallow waters with depth varying between 200-500 metres,” says researcher K Ayyanathan, who has written a book on hydrocarbons.
REFERENCE FROM ONE INDIA'S NEWS PAPER
“Drilling activity will drive away fish. It will also affect the soil substrata and change the characteristics of the coastline as there will be leaks. The subterranean water bodies or aquifers will get contaminated,” claims Ayyanathan. As per the Revenue Sharing Contract, Vedanta proposes to carry out oil and gas exploration (including seismic surveys, exploratory and appraisal drilling) over the next 10-12 years. In case commercial quantities of hydrocarbon reserves are established, then development and production of oil and gas will be carried out in Phase-II.
When contacted, a Vedanta Cairn spokesperson told Express via e-mail,They are currently in planning phase for carrying out exploration activities, and the drilling of Exploratory & Appraisal wells in the OALP blocks in Cauvery basin. The well-drilling execution is dependent on the assessment of subsurface data.
The environment ministry has also been swift in granting approvals for ONGC. An application for onshore development and production of oil and gas from 27 wells in two fields (Bhuvanagiri & Periyakudi fields) and expansion in Cauvery Basin (in Cuddalore and Tiruvarur districts) was submitted by ONGC on February 27 and ToR was granted by March 31.
ONGC proposes to invest Rs 5,150 crore in the project. A total of 40 wells are proposed to be drilled in this block, of which 35 wells will be located in Cuddalore and five in Nagapattinam. As per ONGC officials estimate, 1.82 hectares per well is to be acquired on short term lease/rent.